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Posts Tagged ‘the blog counselor’

My friend lost her father not long ago. My friend is four years old. Her daddy drowned.

When I talk to my friend, she tells me her daddy is dead. She tells me this with little emotion.

What my friend doesn’t know yet is that her sadness over her father’s death will grow. As she becomes bigger, her loss will become bigger. She will stretch back in time to remember a scene of herself with her father. She’ll try to feel his touch. Remember his smell.

She’ll hunt through old pictures to see what this man looked like. She’ll try to see the resemblance. Is her smooth skin a gift from her father? Are her ears shaped like his?

She will try desperately to see from an old photograph that he truly loved her. Perhaps someone will be so kind as to save her a bit of his handwriting or an old school paper of his.

Most of her memories of him will be second hand. She’ll ask her mother and grandmother and aunts and uncles what her daddy was like. Maybe a family friend will save a memory for her.

When she goes to school and the other children tell of their fathers, she’ll have almost nothing to tell.

My friend won’t have a daddy to show her kindergarten pictures to. She won’t have a dad to watch her in her school play. She won’t have a father to help her with math or to help her learn to ride a bike or drive a car. No father to show off for or to tuck her in at night. No dad to argue with about a curfew or make a clay pot for. No father to exchange smiles, build dreams or memories.

My little friend, she’s been cheated.

My heart cries for her.

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I guess there are some things I’ll never understand.

For example, why would a landscaper come to your house, draw up elaborate plans, meet with you to go over the plans, and then never get back to you with a bid?

When you call him, he says, “Oh, I’m going to get that bid out this afternoon.” But it never arrives.

I’ve heard stories about furnace men, air conditioner people, painters, plumbers, carpenters, and wallpaper hangers coming to make a bid, and then never getting back to the person with their bid.

If they see that they don’t want the job, why not tell the customer, instead of putting the customer on hold?

Then there’s the plumber who says,

“I’ll be there Monday afternoon.” You take off work to meet him. And, by heck, he doesn’t show.

Monday night you can’t reach him. Tuesday morning you can’t reach him. Tuesday afternoon, when you finally talk, he doesn’t even say, “I’m sorry,” or, “I forgot,” or, “I got tied up.” He says, “I’ll be there Thursday.”

You cross your fingers. Of course you could call another plumber, but you might run into the same thing again.

There is also the person who says, “I’ll call you this afternoon with the information,” and then doesn’t call.

Even if he isn’t able to get the information, he could give you the courtesy of a call back. Or he could have his office call and explain that he wasn’t able to get the information.

We all have times when we don’t want to make a phone call that we have promised to make. Our life is already too full. But if we could remember how it feels to hear someone say they are going to do something, and then not do it, we might be more responsible.

This week, do everything you say you are going to do. If you can’t possibly follow through, give the person a call back, or send them an email.

Life isn’t always so dependable. But people could be.

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All my life I have been a dog person. My first recollection of having a dog was when I was a small child. The dog’s name was Bum. He came by that name honestly because he was always on the run. He would jump the fence and away he would go. The only other thing I remember about that dog was that my mom loved him dearly. So I did too. Following Bum, my family had a succession of dogs…Candy, Lady, Boots.

When I was 5 or 6 years old, a stray cat appeared at the door. It was winter, so my parents broke down and took him in. He managed to outstay his welcome in less that 48 hours. I still remember my mom saying, “I hate cats. They are everywhere. They get in your pots and pans. They get on the kitchen table. Out with the cat.” My mom hated cats. So I did too.

When I grew up and had my own family, we got a dog, Fluffy. Then we got Barker. Across town my parents also had two dogs and my sister had two dogs. You might say we were confirmed dog lovers.

Then something happened. Our daughter requested a cat. She was a mere three years old. “Now how could a little girl who is surrounded by dogs and dog lovers want a cat?” I thought. Every birthday and holiday thereafter she pressed for a cat. Every birthday and holiday I resisted until one day my love for my daughter overcame me and I said, “Oh alright. We’ll get a cat.”

That was some  years ago. Eventually we got two cats, Cornbread and Emily. When I walk in the door, Cornbread is there waiting. Then along comes Emily for some attention. I love to watch them play. Cornbread swishes his tail back and forth, back and forth, while Emily tries to catch it. They also chase each other around the house at breakneck speed. As I watch them, I frequently feel a smile on my face. You might say, I have fallen in love with cats.

Which leads me to a question I’m often asked. Can people really change? The answer – yes.

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How two friends put their bad feelings aside and grew in love.

I lost my friend Mark to cancer a couple of months ago.

I liked a lot of things about Mark — his soft-spoken manner, his easy laugh, his sense of adventure, his willingness to try new things, his zest for life. But above all, the thing I admired most was Mark’s ability to let go of a hurt and move on.

Mark had a friend named Bill, and every so often the two of them would get together for lunch. One day when they were to meet, Bill never showed. So Mark had lunch alone.

The sad thing was that when Bill realized he had missed lunch, he failed to call his friend and apologize. So Mark was a bit miffed.

When Mark saw Bill, he said, “Say, Bill, what happened to our lunch?”

Bill shrugged and said he had forgotten.

Mark said, “But you didn’t call.”

Bill replied, “Yeah, I know, but I got busy.”

With that brush-off, Mark said, “Well, I’m angry about that. You should have called.”

Again Bill defended his actions.

At this point I could see things weren’t headed in a happy direction, so I jokingly said, “Okay, you two. You guys know you love each other. So Bill, tell Mark, ‘I love you, Mark.'”

Bill looked at me a little askance (men don’t say “I love you” to their friends). Then he got this big childlike grin on his face and said, “I love you, Mark.”

Without hesitation, Mark smiled and said, “I love you, Bill.” And the incident was over. From that moment on, I believe Mark never looked back on that missed engagement.

Addendum: Over the next year as Mark was struggling with his illness, Bill would frequently say, “I love you, Mark.” Mark would get a grin on his face and respond, “I love you, Bill.”

Doris Wild Helmering, The Blog Counselor

Topic Tags:  blog counseling, CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, Doris, Doris Wild Helmering, forgiveness, how to move on after someone hurts you, letting go of a hurt or disappointment, love, loving act of frogiveness, problem, psychotherapist, self-help, solution, St. Louis, the blog counselor

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Happiness and weight loss—
“One of the few things people feel happy about losing–their weight.”

Pick a weight loss plan, follow it with vigor, do 10 minutes of exercise each day to get started, and you’re on your way to get happy. Try it.

This book contains over 200 weight loss quotes; “Thin Becomes You”

http://shop.doriswildhelmering.com/Weight-Loss_c3.htm

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What increases and decreases someone’s self-esteem?

Everybody wants it. The amount you have changes hour to hour, day to day. How you get it depends on two factors: how you think others view you, and the perceived control you have over your life. When you don’t have it, you’re not happy. When you have it, you feel great. What is it? Self-esteem.

How much do you know about this illusive, have-to-have-it-for-happiness quality? Some recent research findings might surprise you.

Getting in trouble with your boss will not necessarily lower your self-esteem. If you’re a person who doesn’t care about what others think and tend to do what you please, your boss’s criticism won’t faze your self-esteem one iota. On the other hand, if you’re a pleaser and your boss is unhappy with your performance, expect your self-esteem to take a tumble. Too many tumbles and you may find yourself heading for a depression.

Most people tend to exaggerate their abilities and as a result boost their self-esteem. Because people have a need to see themselves as successful, they have learned to overestimate their abilities and underestimate their shortcomings. Call it our ability to figure out a way to feel good about ourselves.

People who have low self-esteem often report feeling a high level of stress, as well as depression. Modern society greatly emphasizes personal achievement. When a person doesn’t measure up, he often blames himself, with bad feelings the result.

People who are loved and admired as well as successful will almost always have high self-esteem. High self-esteem involves a favorable evaluation of self. When one is loved and admired, it’s easy to view oneself in a favorable light.

Self-esteem may vary greatly hour to hour but it tends to remain pretty much the same through the years. It’s easy to understand how landing a big sale will boost one’s self-esteem one hour and a fight with a friend will lower it the next, but why self-esteem remains somewhat constant year to year no one knows. Maybe we’ll find that self-esteem is also linked to our genetic makeup.

People with high self-esteem expect to succeed in whatever they undertake. Perhaps this is so because the high self-esteemers already have a number of successes under their belt. So why wouldn’t they be optimistic that the success pattern will continue? If you want to raise your self-esteem, all you have to do is compare yourself to one who is doing worse than you. Most people use the mechanism of downward comparisons to boost their own self-esteem. Looking around for someone who is worse off or has less talent is a universal practice to maintain one’s own self-esteem.

People with high self-esteem usually cope better with failure. Research has shown that when people with high self-esteem fail, they defend harder and blame others more, thus keeping their self-esteem intact.

People with low self-esteem have a more difficult time taking risks than those in the high self-esteem category. People with low self-esteem will guard against further erosion of their self-esteem, thus the lack of risk taking.

When a person acts unethically or immorally, he or she will downplay the consequences of the bad behavior to maintain self-esteem. People are masters at deluding themselves and believing that their behavior isn’t really all that bad.

Self-esteem has a high impact on happiness. The more self-esteem one has, the more happiness one experiences. Perhaps this is why we delude ourselves about our talents and abilities, how much we’re loved and admired, and how our immoral and unethical behavior affects others.

Doris Wild Helmering, “The Neighborhood Counselor”

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When your moodiness is beginning to affect your marriage and family, it’s time to do something about it.

Are you a moody person? Do you have to deal with someone who’s moody? A mate? A boss? A child? A co-worker?

In a marriage counseling session, a husband complained that the past weekend had not been good. His wife had been in one of her moods.

I asked the wife what the husband meant. She shrugged and looked at him. He said, “Just what she’s doing now. She won’t talk; she refuses to comment on what you say; she acts like the kids and I don’t exist. And it doesn’t matter what we do to try to be nice.” He explained that the family can clean the house, cook the meals, and buy her a present, and she still won’t snap out of it. In fact, last year their eleven-year-old gave her a coffee mug that said, “Snap Out of It.”

I asked Marilyn if what her husband was describing about her was accurate. She shrugged and said yes. Then she said, “It’s just the way I am.” When she gets in one of those moods, she said, she wants people to leave her alone. Not talk to her, not try to cheer her up.

I asked how often her moodiness struck. She said a few times a month. Her husband said about once a week.

How long do her moods last? They both agreed — two or three days.

I asked if she saw her moodiness as a problem. She was noncommittal but added that all her family was like this and her husband had known she was moody before he married her.

He said he had thought her moodiness was because of the stress of the wedding and her dad being sick at the time. He never dreamed it would be something he’d have to live with for the rest of their married life.

I asked if she saw her moodiness as something she wanted to work on to make things better at home with her husband and children.

She said, “Not particularly.”

I asked if she understood how destructive her moods were to her marriage, her children, and herself.

She wanted to know how.

I said that each time she gets in one of her moods, she emotionally leaves the family. She’s not available for anyone. She closes everyone out. She discounts everyone’s existence. She sucks up the family’s energy as all wait for her to be in a better mood. And I said I suspect during her moodiness she can’t possibly enjoy life or feel close to anyone.

She asked what she could do about her moods. I said she’d have to want to make a change. And I wasn’t so sure she was ready. She agreed.

I said my usual routine would be to quickly review her childhood and see who she learned this behavior from and how it served her as a child. This would take no more than a half session. I’d also send her to her doctor to make sure she was okay physically. I’d have her make a list of the advantages she saw in being moody.

She said, “Such as?”

I said, “Well, when you’re moody, everyone is watching you, trying to please you. Maybe you get out of cooking, doing housework. Maybe you get to take a nap, guilt free. People don’t keep a behavior around unless they get a payoff. Sometimes understanding the payoff helps people give up the behavior.”

Another thing — when a bad mood starts, I want her to do some things immediately to help herself shake it off. Research shows that if you get a project going such as cleaning the garage, or if you do something for someone else such as running an errand, your bad mood will dissipate. Also, no television or alcohol when she’s in a bad mood, as both of these things exacerbate the bad feelings.

She said, “You feel pretty strongly about getting me to be in a better mood.”

I said, “I do because it’s miserable for your family and ultimately miserable for you.”

Doris Wild Helmering, “Mother of Reason”

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